- 104: KINwith E Shiosaki 103: AMBLECOMING SOON with E Gomez and S Gory 102: GAMEwith R Green and J Maxwell 101: NO THEME 10with J Kinsella and J Leanne 100: BROWNFACE with W S Dunn 99: SINGAPOREwith J Ip and A Pang 97 & 98: PROPAGANDAwith M Breeze and S Groth 96: NO THEME IXwith M Gill and J Thayil 95: EARTHwith M Takolander 94: BAYTwith Z Hashem Beck 93: PEACHwith L Van, G Mouratidis, L Toong 92: NO THEME VIIIwith C Gaskin 91: MONSTERwith N Curnow 90: AFRICAN DIASPORAwith S Umar 89: DOMESTICwith N Harkin 88: TRANSQUEERwith S Barnes and Q Eades 87: DIFFICULTwith O Schwartz & H Isemonger 86: NO THEME VIIwith L Gorton 85: PHILIPPINESwith Mookie L and S Lua 84: SUBURBIAwith L Brown and N O'Reilly 83: MATHEMATICSwith F Hile 82: LANDwith J Stuart and J Gibian 81: NEW CARIBBEANwith V Lucien 80: NO THEME VIwith J Beveridge 57.1: EKPHRASTICwith C Atherton and P Hetherington 57: CONFESSIONwith K Glastonbury 56: EXPLODE with D Disney 55.1: DALIT / INDIGENOUSwith M Chakraborty and K MacCarter 55: FUTURE MACHINES with Bella Li 54: NO THEME V with F Wright and O Sakr 53.0: THE END with P Brown 52.0: TOIL with C Jenkins 51.1: UMAMI with L Davies and Lifted Brow 51.0: TRANSTASMAN with B Cassidy 50.0: NO THEME IV with J Tranter 49.1: A BRITISH / IRISH with M Hall and S Seita 49.0: OBSOLETE with T Ryan 48.1: CANADA with K MacCarter and S Rhodes 48.0: CONSTRAINT with C Wakeling 47.0: COLLABORATION with L Armand and H Lambert 46.1: MELBOURNE with M Farrell 46.0: NO THEME III with F Plunkett 45.0: SILENCE with J Owen 44.0: GONDWANALAND with D Motion 43.1: PUMPKIN with K MacCarter 43.0: MASQUE with A Vickery 42.0: NO THEME II with G Ryan 41.1: RATBAGGERY with D Hose 41.0: TRANSPACIFIC with J Rowe and M Nardone 40.1: INDONESIA with K MacCarter 40.0: INTERLOCUTOR with L Hart 39.1: GIBBERBIRD with S Gory 39.0: JACKPOT! with S Wagan Watson 38.0: SYDNEY with A Lorange 37.1: NEBRASKA with S Whalen 37.0: NO THEME! with A Wearne 36.0: ELECTRONICA with J Jones
The presence of John Ashbery shines over contemporary literature, for many as an enigma, indisputably as a catalyst. Part of the post-World War II wave of new American poetry, his name is grouped not just alongside his contemporary poets but among their literary schools and movements: the L-A-N-G-U-A-G-E school, the New York School, the San Francisco Renaissance, the Beats, the Black Mountain poets, our own ’68ers and J.A.
‘Shipwrecked on the shoals of contingency’, Australian poetry is haunted by Stéphane Mallarmé’s poem Un Coup de Dés. Its publication in Cosmopolis in Paris in 1897 struck a nerve or, rather, a vessel within Australian poetry bloodlines,
As I began this essay on J S Harry’s poem ‘Tunnel Vision’ several years ago (2006) the radio drive shows in Sydney were full of opinions, mainly angry, concerning a report that a male teacher, in an English class, encouraging students to find as many words in ‘Australia’ as they could, had led the way by showing them how it contains the word ‘slut’, and then, when asked what that meant – it must have been a young primary-school class – had told them that it was a word used to describe women.
Glow White and the Three Dwarfs Remaining — Sneezy, Sleazy and Greasy: we were just guys together, once, digging up diamonds, pals — then this whirlwind of womanhood descended on us out of the forest with her perfume, her mystery …
What is more old-fashioned than modernity? New York in the 1960s; Paris in the 1920s; Edwardian England: how entranced we are by the bygone milieu of modernity. John Tranter has long appreciated the poetic potential of the almost-new, almost-old, as seen in his poems on movies, jazz, the New York School, and so on. But as seen in his latest book, Heart Starter, his interest in such things is not merely nostalgic. Rather, his work is obsessed with remixing the magic pudding of modernity. The past, in other words, is there to be used, not revered or sentimentalised. Tranter’s poetic revisionism treats source texts and forms as transitional objects (to use Winnicott’s term) that offer open-ended play and creativity, rather than demand compliance.
Sometimes people become irritated when I am once again asked to compile another collection of poems. Why him? they ask. Why him again? Well, there’s a reason. I am good at it.
John Tranter and John Forbes, Forbes Street Studios, 1980.
John Tranter, Sydney, 2009, photo by Anders Hallengren. Poetry for Cordite 50: NO THEME IV is guest-edited by John Tranter Zounds! We’ve made it to issue 50 in the year that Cordite Poetry Review turns 18. Bust out the Passion …
Last week, I knew it was time to leave the city. The way the sun glinted off window-panes, a warning arriving on my front lawn with the morning newspaper, and the shape of that funny cloud… and those kids breaking …
Sometimes irritating, often informative, occasionally incisive and sporadically genuinely interrogatory, the thoughtfulness evinced by (many of) the writings collected in Poetry and the Trace triggers further chains of association and dissociation. This is a genuinely critical collection in various senses of that word: at once analytic, hortatory, and urgent.
Alexandria Think of the village baby. A scene of adventure – the dream of Europe. The eyes of marching armies fostered perplexity that marred all its books and intellectuals and opened their minds to the encyclopaedia of algebra and carmine …
Melbourne-based Benjamin Laird writes computer programs and electronic poetry, which he discusses here in the first of a new, occasional blog series looking at the writing practice of contemporary Australian poets.
The bad news first … I am sorry to see the departure of Lisa Gorton as Cordite’s Feature Reviews Editor. Over the past 18 months, her astute eye, impeccable judgement and gracious style has produced – and leaves us with – a superb legacy of robust and engaging feature reviews. Gorton’s work is testament to what can happen with excellent writing from reviewers and an engaged editorial acumen.
hoon |huːn| Austral./NZ informal; noun: a lout or hooligan, especially a young man who drives recklessly. the whole family was wiped out because some drunken hoon had to drive his car. ORIGIN 1930s: of unknown origin. His beard tangled around …
The blurb tells us that Poetry magazine was founded in Chicago by Harriet Monroe in 1912, and that is it ‘the oldest monthly devoted to verse in the English-speaking world. The magazine established its reputation early by publishing the first important poems of T.S. Eliot, Ezra Pound, Marianne Moore, Wallace Stevens, H.D., William Carlos Williams, Carl Sandburg and other now-classic authors.
John Tranter, renowned Australian poet and occasional but incisive chronicler of the driving forces behind those Australian poets now classified as ‘The Generation of ‘68’ once wrote that the ‘Generation of ‘68’ was all about:
‘not the replacing of the old by the new (which soon becomes the established), but by the continual recognition of the need to ‘make it new’, to break down the urge to establish reputations and an entrenched position.’
Anecdotes surround Vicki Viidikas. None is definitive.
The verse novel is a peculiar organism: descended from the sweeping epics that chronicled the birth of nations and the misadventures of wayward heroes, we can still find characters struggling on their ‘grand’ journey – likely to be a personal, emotional and/or psychological journey – with the occasional battle scene (though, this is more likely to take place on a much smaller, personal level). As a distinctly modern form, there is certainly much less aggrandisement of the natural world via mythical and magical hyperbole in the verse novel.
Whatever one may expect from an anthology of contemporary poetry released by a mainstream commercial publisher – an accessible selection of diverse voices and styles, one for both the non-specialist, general reader as well as the (less snobbish) connoisseur, a selection featuring promising emerging writers as well as more prominent authors, and so on – Black Inc. Publishing’s annual Best Australian Poems Series has been meeting these expectations, more or less consistently, for close to a decade. And despite the series’ many specific strengths and few weaknesses, the latest addition to the series follows the same general tradition successfully.
I am old enough to remember the K-Tel LP records (vinyl) of the 1970’s – 20 Hits of Summer, 20 Sizzling Hits of 1976 and so on. They were relatively cheap and covered a large range of pop music styles, from Slade to Kiki Dee and back to Deep Purple. The task of deciding what to include in each release must have been relatively simple – each song had to have been on high rotation on the major AM pop/rock radio stations – and the aim was to get teenagers to spend their pocket money on a cheap album rather that a number of singles. Judging by the number of K-Tel collections my friends had, it was a successful strategy.
John Tranter has been publishing poetry for forty years, and his latest book is published in tandem with a critical companion to his oeuvre, The Salt Companion to John Tranter. As Rod Mengham writes in the companion’s preface, Tranter is “widely regarded by critics as the most important member of the so-called ‘generation of ‘68’”. This generation of poets was in fact named as such by Tranter himself.
Rock and roll chained to the typewriter is one way of putting it, Southern Comfort is another, but without the comfort, and with the ending a surprise, as the ending repeats itself as the beginning back to front and then …
Anthologies which wrap up the year's 'best' are always greatly anticipated. We want to be reacquainted with our favourite poets, see what sort of spin they've taken on our world during the past twelve months. But of greater interest is often the introduction to new writers. We're curious if the poets who have recently found their way into small press publications have made the cut.
In the following interview with David Prater, John discusses his editorial philosophy, the future of the global internet and the mystery of his missing moustache.
Salt Publishing's decision to republish three 1970s collections by John Tranter under the title Trio nicely bookends the army of books no doubt already occupying the home library shelves of his most ardent and serious fans.